Posts Tagged ‘2016 NBA Playoffs’

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While the Cleveland Cavaliers may be trying to end their city’s 52-year title drought Sunday, there’s no other way around it: the pressure is on the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

A record-setting 73-win juggernaut has suddenly looked less than human in the last two games, and the reigning two-time league MVP knows a lot of that’s on him.

“I need to play my best game of the year if not my career,” Stephen Curry told reporters Saturday, before adding a caveat.

“But that doesn’t mean a 50-point game though.”

Curry was ejected from the first game of his NBA career in Game 6, and the technical for tossing his mouth guard was his sixth foul anyways. It was a rare sight to see the league’s golden boy in foul trouble late in a crucial contest, and he stressed Saturday that he needs to avoid repeating that.

“All I can do is just stay out of foul trouble,” Curry said. “That’s the only thing I need to worry about”

Degrees of ‘worry’ depend on the person and circumstances involved, but despite his proclamation that he needs a great game, Curry said he doesn’t feel the pressure.

“I don’t feel any extra pressure, which is good. I just want to enjoy the moment.”

Curry shot a combined 16-of-41 in Games 5 and 6.

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Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors - Game Four

Players on the Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t exactly thrilled with the prices they’re being asked to pay for tickets to Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena.

In fact, several members of the team elected to pass on securing tickets because of the high prices and location of the seats, sources told ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

Tickets in the lower level of Oracle Arena were offered to the Cavaliers for $1,300 each, which is nearly double what they were charged when Cleveland and Golden State squared off in last year’s Finals, according to Rovell.

A spokesperson for the Warriors noted fans and players alike are being asked to shell out more money for seats due to supply and demand.

The face value of the tickets for season-ticket holders is roughly $1,600, so the Cavaliers would still be receiving a discount if they purchase them for Game 2.

A Warriors official was unable to confirm whether or not Golden State’s players are being asked to pay the same amount for seats of their own.

The defending NBA champions currently hold a 1-0 series lead after defeating the Cavs on Friday night, 104-89.

dwyane-wade-dumps-jordan-brand-for-li-ning-0Dwyane Wade was the first one to line up for “O Canada” prior to Game 4, and the Miami Heat star made sure to issue a formal apology for shooting during the Canadian anthem the game prior.

‘No disrespect at all from me,” Wade said. ”I apologize for Canada thinking I would disrespect them as a country. So today, I just adjusted how I normally get ready for a game and got in the line first.

”I have so much respect for the Toronto Raptors, obviously, and I have respect for the country of Canada,” Wade added. ”So I didn’t mean any disrespect.”

Wade was caught on video prior to Game 3 on Saturday shooting warmup shots after the Canadian anthem started. He said he didn’t mean any disrespect, but was finishing his routine, which wraps up on a made shot.

“If anyone thinks I was being disrespectful, they don’t know who Dwyane Wade is,” he said Saturday.

The NBA spoke with the Heat to make sure no pregame routine interfered with any anthems, and Wade said he made it a priority to be ready for the anthems in Game 4.

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A day after the fact, Dwyane Wade should’ve been fielding questions about his throwback, 38-point performance in Game 3 against the Toronto Raptors. Instead, he was forced to answer for a pregame snafu in which he was seen shooting jumpers rather than lining up during the singing of the Canadian national anthem.

It sparked some outrage among Raptors fans (and Canadian hoops fans in general), with the indignation reaching as far as the Ontario provincial government.

Wade insisted Sunday that he intended no disrespect, and is not a disrespectful person. He said he was simply thrown off by the unusual timing of the anthem, which cut his pregame shooting routine short.

In any event, the NBA office says it reached out to the Heat, and will work with the team and its players to prevent such a conflict from arising again.

“We spoke to the team, and the Heat will work with its players to make sure no pregame routines interfere with either anthem going forward,” the league said.

Game 4 goes in Miami on Monday night.

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As the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder battle in the Western Conference semifinals, the Spurs apparently have another kind of eye on Kevin Durant. San Antonio is intrigued by the prospect of adding the superstar free agent in the offseason, league sources told ESPN’s Marc Stein.

The idea that multiple teams would have interest in one of the NBA’s top three players is hardly surprising; with the salary cap spiking this summer, more than a dozen teams are expected to pitch Durant. The Spurs are an interesting option, however, because of the current makeup of the team and the cap adjustments they’d have to make – San Antonio can’t afford to add a max deal to its current roster.

The Spurs hope to meet with Durant on July 1, the first day of free agency, reports Stein.

Some of their ability to add Durant would hinge on the decisions of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, Spur lifers who may opt to call it a career this summer. Other moves would have to be made beyond that, however. Though the idea sounds unlikely, some also scoffed last season at the suggestion LaMarcus Aldridge would land in San Antonio.

While many maintain Durant will likely choose to stay with the Thunder either short or long term, he’s also been linked to the Golden State Warriors in other sensory-overload rumors.

Durant is known to be a big fan of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, something he expanded on last week.

 

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The Washington Wizards currently find themselves on the outside looking in as it pertains to the Eastern Conference playoff picture and no one is more frustrated with the team’s current situation than All-Star point guard John Wall.

“I think about it every day, to be honest with you,” Wall said following shootaround on Monday, according to the Washington Post’s Jorge Castillo. “I’m thinking, ‘There’s no way in hell we should be in this situation. We should already have a playoff spot. We should be done with that.’ Now we’re fighting for dear life.”

Wall scored 27 points and dished out 14 assists in 36 minutes of action that night against the Atlanta Hawks, helping extend Washington’s winning streak to five games after losing their previous five. The only downside, though, was that the Wizards’ victory over Atlanta didn’t impact their standing in the East, as they still remain 1 1/2 games back of the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons for the eighth and final playoff spot.

“We’re trying to chase them,” Wall said. “We got to do our job just winning games and hope other teams lose to give ourselves an opportunity. But we can’t focus on anybody else if we can’t take care of our games.”

Wall has been the one constant on a roster that just can’t seem to stay healthy.Bradley Beal once again missed a large stretch of games due to another stress reaction in his right fibula, Nene was sidelined after injuring his calf, and Alan Anderson has just nine appearances under his belt following surgery on his left ankle.

Should they sneak into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth, the seventh seed – which they’re currently two games back of the Indiana Pacers for – would position them against the Toronto Raptors, who they swept in the opening round in 2014-15. Washington wouldn’t be favored to go very far, but with a healthy core and the experience of previous appearances, they could make some noise against the elite of the East.

It’s just a shame the road to even secure that opportunity has been riddled with speed bumps and pot holes – a road Wall wishes he didn’t have to travel.

After a slow start to the 2015-16 season, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is confident his team will be dangerous come playoff time.

“I know that when we make the playoffs … we’ll definitely be one of the teams that no one wants to play,” Morey told Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle.

Houston (22-20) began the year with an underwhelming 7-11 record, a far cry from last year when it reached the Western Conference finals.

The Rockets have been heavily criticized for their lethargic effort on the defensive end. Houston currently sits 21st in the league in defensive efficiency after finishing sixth in 2014-15.

Morey hasn’t been afraid to make changes, though, following the team’s poor start, firing Kevin McHale after 11 games and replacing him with interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff. The club has gone 18-13 since.

James Harden is one of a handful of Rockets players who have seen sharp declines in their performance after last year’s coming-out party. Harden is shooting just 42 percent from the field and posting a defensive rating of 107 after finishing last season second in MVP voting.

Unless they make a big run, the Rockets will likely fall somewhere between Nos. 5 and 8 in the Western Conference, setting up a potential matchup against a powerhouse like the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, or Oklahoma City Thunder.